The operation, led by Cambridgeshire County Council Trading Standards with assistance from Cambridgeshire Constabulary and HMRC, used specially trained sniffer dogs from Wagtail.

The dogs, Bertie and Beck, helped recover 56,000 cigarettes and 7,600g of hand rolling tobacco believed to be counterfeit and non-duty paid. Early estimates suggest the haul, which was taken from four shops, has a street value of £8,000 and a loss in taxes to HMRC of around £17,000.

Investigations will continue into the tobacco which was found in well concealed locations in the Wisbech and March area. Some of the tobacco was so well hidden it could only have been discovered with the help of the dogs.

Aileen Andrews, Service Manager for Cambridgeshire County Council Trading Standards said "Offenders need to know that they will face consequences if they choose to supply illicit tobacco to our communities. Trading Standards welcome all information from the public about illicit sales of tobacco, particularly to children. We can be contacted via Citizens Advice on 03454 040506."

Val Thomas, Consultant in Public Health at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: "We want to see health improvements in this county, with poor, disadvantaged communities and young people often the target of this cheap tobacco, it does not encourage people to quit."

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